Four-Day Work Week: Pilot & Early Challenges [An SEJ Case Study, Part 1]

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In September, SMM Panel personnel voted to approve a trial run of a four-day work week program!

We’re running the program in collaboration with 4 Day Week International as a six-month pilot.

Among the crucial tenets of the trial internally is that it’s employee-led– which is why leadership requested a worker vote on whether to begin the trial. Leadership likewise chose a committee of staff members to hear concerns and carry out a policy relating to the trial.

We’re coming near the middle of our trial, and I wanted to discuss a few of the successes and challenges we’ve experienced so far.

If you’re thinking of carrying out a four-day work week trial for your company, I hope this information can help you prepare!

The Four-Day Work Week Program

The four-day work week experiment has a few essential tenets:

  • It has to work for everybody.
  • Individuals should not be attempting to fit more time into their week in other methods. It should be 100% pay, 80% time, and 100% productivity.
  • The end outcome should make life much better and less difficult throughout the work week– not more stressful.

The Most significant Obstacles With A Four-Day Work Week

If you read this post, I’m going to assume you’re currently on board with the possible advantages of four-day work weeks.

We have actually experienced many benefits, and I’ll go through them in a future short article.

Let’s solve into the obstacles we discovered with the pilot program and the options we’ve implemented up until now.

A Four-Day Work Week Has Different Implications For Different Groups

Groups that deal with anyone externally might have a more difficult adjustment to four-day weeks.

External facing groups, like sales, account management, and media, lose a day throughout which their contacts may send out important or time-sensitive messages.

If your company’s schedule isn’t effectively communicated, this might trigger aggravation and missed deadlines.

These teams might have additional concerns about the KPIs they’re responsible for, and whether they’ll require to be on-call to deal with immediate problems that show up throughout off days.

We decided to resist the temptation to try and find workarounds that guarantee we keep protection for the full week.

This might not work for your company. As 4 Day Week International states, there isn’t one service that works for every company.

We discussed at length the possibility of having various groups or different workers working different schedules.

Nevertheless, four-day weeks are a tough adjustment, and the more complicated you make it internally, the more likely you won’t get full implementation across the whole business.

Many companies have staff members who feel that it’s needed to put in additional hours.

To keep everything fair and avoid some employees from taking on additional concerns, we chose that everyone must take the exact same day off, and it must be enforced as closure time– at least throughout of our trial.

There have actually been some circumstances where people put in extra time on a Friday (I’ve done it, though just twice), however in general, we find that the temptation is less popular if everyone observes the exact same day. It’s much easier to maintain the cultural message that we are closed on a single day.

So, how do you solve the problems external groups will encounter?

Clear communication is our answer. Be public about your brand-new schedule, and reach out to any external stakeholders to notify them.

You’ll require to send consistent suggestions. It’s great to put the details on your site, e-mail signatures, and any boilerplate messages you send externally.

This requires assistance from leadership and every employee to ensure that external-facing teams do not take on a heavier problem than others.

We’re still implementing this. Various groups have various interaction responsibilities.

A Four-Day Work Week Impacts Part-Time And Hourly Staff Members, And Contractors Differently

For salaried staff members, the four-day work week calculation is pretty simple: 100% pay, 80% time, 100% efficiency.

SEJ utilizes people all over the world and has a variety of various agreements and arrangements. We have some full-time specialists, some part-time contractors, and even some hourly arrangements.

How to make sure that the four-day week is an equivalent advantage for all parties is a difficulty we continue to attend to.

Our top priority is an employee-lead method to these concerns.

Since we have a lot of various kinds of employment plans, how to best handle the program for each kind of staff member is a continuous discussion, and agreement staff members have representation on the internal committee making policy decisions throughout the trial.

We found a variety of opinions about the best method to handle the various plans, and the worker committee has presented some possibilities to leadership.

We used existing info from 4 Day Week Worldwide, especially a few of its case studies, to assist our conversations.

Do Vacations Produce Three-Day Weeks?

Throughout the second week of our trial, we wound up with a three-day week.

This triggered quite a bit of aggravation and issue. That extension of lowered hours puts a lot of pressure on staff members who have efficiency KPIs to meet.

Part of the problem is that we had a policy that moved the observance of holidays that fall on weekends into weekdays. We were observing Saturday vacations on Fridays, and Sunday vacations on Mondays.

With the four-day work week, we decided that we need to modify that policy.

Vacations that fall on Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be observed throughout the work week. Holidays that fall throughout the week, and those that fall on Sundays, will still lead to days off.

That way, employees can still take advantage of the occasional extra-short week, but we aren’t creating too many high-stress weeks with less time to get things done.

Four-Day Weeks Exacerbate Existing Efficiency Pain Points– This Is Good, In fact

If you have concerns with your workflow or performance, try out four-day weeks will make them immediate.

And that’s excellent.

It’s simple to get so caught up with the everyday work and the most critical deadlines that your housekeeping suffers. Whether specific worker, group, or business, it’s hard to find time to enhance performance and get rid of roadblocks.

Losing a day makes this work immediate and needed. It will also reveal you where the biggest pain points are.

This can be a little bit of a shock. If you have a particular procedure taking up a lot of time (like, I don’t understand, meetings), it will unexpectedly get much more troublesome for everyone included.

We found this very informative, and it’s been a huge push that all of us needed to deal with inadequacies as a group.

We’re still dealing with it. The problem with less time is that, well, you have less time.

However here’s where we feel that our employee-led effort is vital: Our committee of employees managing the program has actually been empowered to make decisions and set goals. All workers have actually been welcomed to share their experiences, struggles, and tips by means of an anonymized idea box.

For this program to work, you need the fact:

  • Who seems like they have to work extra time?
  • Who is more stressed about the program, and why?
  • Does anybody feel that execution has been unreasonable?

These aren’t realities everybody will feel comfortable putting their name to, or taking directly to management.

That’s why SEJ thought it was important to have a committee of staff members from multiple levels that was empowered not just to hear staff member concerns, however also to make decisions about the program.

How Is SEJ’s Four-Day Work Week Working?

As you can see, we had a lot of challenges! The above isn’t an exhaustive list of the roadblocks and stumbles we’ve had along the method.

We have to do with halfway into the program, and while we still have many kinks to exercise, the general belief is positive.

We certainly have some huge concerns to respond to and some big workflow issues to tackle.

The four-day work week not only provides us more control over our individual lives however likewise presses us to resolve existing issues that we may not have otherwise focused on.

We’re gathering feedback from all team members about the program as we go. I’ll compose an upgrade soon to discuss some of the results.

More resources:

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/SMM Panel